Jeff Mink is fielding many early-season questions from Southern growers. Based in Memphis, the Syngenta technical crop manager for the South Field Crops business unit manages “the technical support representatives that are in the field and ensure proper positioning of our products.”

Proper start

Since growers “are making a significant investment in seed … we want to help them protect that investment and avoid replant situations. We recommend they wait until the weather looks favorable for planting. From there, we can help them maximize stand establishment to get the crop up and running. Seed treatments — both fungicides and insecticides — are absolutely key to accomplish that and are integral to getting off to a fast, healthy start.”

As an example, “in no-till situations there are typically a lot of weeds in the field. If you burndown at the same time you plant, insects will then move from the weed hosts to the crop. You need an insecticide to protect young plants so seed treatments that protect the plant from the point the seed goes in the ground are very important in reduced tillage or no-till” systems.

New treatments

What treatments are available? Anything new?

“The newest thing we’ve got for rice is CruiserMaxx Rice. It provides protection against grape colaspis, rice water weevil, chinch bugs and thrips, and protects against early-season seedling diseases and seed-borne leaf blast.”

For corn, “we now offer Avicta Complete Corn, which is a combination of Avicta nematicide, Cruiser insecticide and a comprehensive fungicide package to protect plants against early-season pests that feed during germination and stand establishment.”

Asked his views on grape colaspis and rice water weevil, Mink said in 2009 “Gus Lorenz (Arkansas Extension entomologist) helped secure a Section 18 for Cruiser as grape colaspis control. It is a big problem in some Arkansas fields and we’re seeing it pop up in other regions. It also controls rice water weevils, which rice growers battle every year.

“We’ve seen really good uptake on the Cruiser treatment in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.”

Weeds and resistance

What about maximizing weed control?

“We’re beginning to see all sorts of herbicide-resistant weeds. Glyphosate-resistant pigweed is a hot topic but there are other types of resistance in other types of weeds, as well.

“We encourage growers to rotate modes of action and are focused on providing them with solutions that help preserve all of the herbicide chemistries we have. At this time of year, it’s very, very important growers start clean with an effective burndown that offers residual activity.

“Growers need to keep residuals in the soil to help prevent weeds like pigweed from germinating and getting ahead of the crop. Sometimes, as with some pigweeds, there are multiple mechanisms of resistance. You want to catch pigweeds when they’re very small or prevent them from emerging, period.

“In order to do that, growers need to overlap residual products and pay attention to the modes of action being used and rotate them. This will help preserve all our classes of chemistry.”

Over the last few years, weed resistance has exploded in areas of the South. When he was visiting Georgia several years ago, Mink “saw fields that were completely taken over with pigweeds. I could hardly see the crop.

“That’s when I realized ‘Wow, this is huge. These farmers won’t be able to get these crops out. The fields are lost unless they manually chop them out.’

“Of course, then resistant weeds began popping up in Tennessee and Arkansas. Now, (the problem is) moving into Mississippi. And guys in Texas are becoming concerned.

“As we stress with (Syngenta’s) Resistance Fighter messaging, the time to act is now. If you’ve got resistant weeds, you know how important it is to be on top of your herbicide applications, application timing, and modes of action.

“But if you don’t have a resistance issue, you still should be proactive. Start rotating modes of action to prevent that problem from reaching your farm.

“Glyphosate is an extremely important molecule for us. It’s very effective on a large number of weeds. We need to preserve it for use on those weeds by partnering it with other modes of action.

“If you already have resistance issues on your farm or are concerned that you might in the future, visit resistancefighter.com to create a season-long approach to weed control that’s tailored for your area and weed targets.”

How can growers help crops emerge evenly?

“They really need to pay attention to seeding rates and make sure the germ on the seed is good. They need to check the seven-day forecast and make sure the weather is conducive to getting the crop up and going to avoid getting caught by a cool spell. For protection from the start in case you do hit adverse weather, we strongly encourage the use of seed treatment products to help protect the seedlings.”